EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT FROM GYPSY HEAT
Throwing herself back into her work, Nadya gently painted the Permalac lacquer on the bracelets she’d created that morning. Smiling to herself, she wrinkled her nose. She hated the way the lacquer smelled, but the bracelets looked fantastic. She still had it.
Her jaw clenched, but she ordered herself to keep working as the Inn began its customary creaks that came with the tide winds. She’d heard them before. She’d spent the night there with Sienna dozens of times, whenever she couldn’t go to Grady’s. The window rasped, and she dropped the bracelet in her lap, spilling the lacquer on her skirt.
Dammit, Nadya. Get it together. She cleaned up the mess and changed into a pair of knit shorts and a long-sleeved, loose-fitting shirt. She draped a blanket over her lap and ordered her hands to stop shaking. The lacquer burned her nostrils and cloyed at her throat as she tried to draw deep breaths.
She finished the first bracelet and moved on to the second with slightly more steady hands. The wind picked up and the branches of the Sabal palm trees brushed against the house. It’s just the trees outside. She repeated the words out loud, but when she was certain she heard the lock on the back door shake, she flew from her chair and raced to the stairwell.
Peering through the darkened hallway, she tucked herself against the wall and tried to hear over the hammer of her heart in her ears. None of those sheriffs were there now. What if she wasn’t imagining things? What if someone was breaking into the Inn? There’d been break-ins. Everyone was talking about them.
The backdoor creaked again, and she was certain she heard footsteps on the back deck. Suddenly, something crashed. She hit the light switches, flooding the Inn with light and took off out the front door without looking back.
Grady saw the lights inside the Inn burst through the indigo skies. Suddenly, Nadya was rushing towards him. Fear lit the hollow black of her onyx eyes. At one time, fire had resided there. The fiery orange light of the moon caught the gleam of a tiny diamond stud in her adorable nose that she’d gotten since the last time they’d seen each other. Instinctively, he set down the beer can that had been in his hands and rushed towards her. Something was wrong. It didn’t matter what had happened between them. He couldn’t stand for her to be afraid. She did need him. He knew it.
Halting her rush to he beach, she lifted her head and stared into the desperately piercing hazel eyes of Grady Havens. His gaze locked onto hers as they both stood transfixed. She swallowed down her terror and felt her chin tremble. Time seemed to stand still in that moment. She tried to hear the roar of the ocean waves or the music that people had been dancing to before her outburst, but silence permeated her body in a frantic deafness. She tried to smile and to speak an infinite number of apologies for all that had happened through that gesture.
Grady was aware of his brothers’ rushed whispers somewhere in his general vicinity. Beau stepped to the center of the crowd. “This a beach fire or not? Let’s dance.” People very rarely turned Beau down. His baby face and goading grin got him everywhere he wanted to go. Following his charisma, Nadya’s interruption was quickly forgotten.
Grady ordered his feet to return to the houseboat, but they remained rooted in the sand. She was still staring at him. His heart pricked. God, please don’t let her cry, he pled to the ether. He couldn’t stand it when she cried. It undid him.
Beau smirked. “And hey, how about a throwback to Wellsley High? Come on, Nadya, you owe Grady a dance.”
Grady tore his gaze from Nadya just long enough to glare hatefully at his little brother. Nadya looked absolutely terrified, but something moved Grady’s feet towards her. He called himself an idiot and commanded his body to stop, but he gained another step. His jaw clenched as she blinked back tears. Fear of rejection took precedence in her eyes. He couldn’t walk away, not if that would hurt her. He could never hurt her.
Suddenly, her body bowed forward. Nate gently pushed her towards Grady’s arms. Her right foot shot forward to keep herself from falling in the sand, and Grady instinctively caught her. He would never and could never let her fall.
She was shivering violently and looked torn between rushing into his chest and sprinting into the next town. The lightning that had been trapped inside his body since the first time he’d touched her hand sent its electric spark through his fingers as they wrapped around her slender waist. He closed his eyes and tried to think. “Do you want to dance, Nadya?
by Jillian Neal
Released: August 25th 2015
Series: Gypsy Beach #3
Published by Realm Press
Nadya Montgomery was Gypsy Beach’s own personal wild child. There was nothing she wouldn’t do, especially when it came to Grady Havens. Until disaster struck and tore them apart. Desperate to protect Grady, she ran away from everything and everyone she’d ever known.
Fourteen years later, Nadya returns to the beach to try to rebuild some semblance of her life out of her ex-husband’s shadow, but that means returning to her past and seeing Grady Havens again.
Now a charter boat Captain constantly trying to put his past behind him, Grady doesn’t know what to make of Nadya’s return. All he knows is she was always meant to be his, and he intends to make his claim. He wants her back in his life and most certainly back in his bed.
When his entire family is threatened, he’s caught between rekindling his relationship with Nadya and protecting what belongs to him.
Together they try to rebuild what always should have been, but their pasts are determined to keep them ensnared. As passions ignite between them, they realize that even Grady may not be able to keep her safe this time.